Canadian social sciences and humanities researchers honoured for their extraordinary contributions

News release

Annual SSHRC Impact Awards celebrate top talent in Canada’s social sciences and humanities research community

September 4, 2019, Ottawa, Ontario

Canadian social sciences and humanities research is producing innovative knowledge that is helping communities, businesses and governments to have an impact on people’s lives. The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)’s annual Impact Awards honour outstanding scholars who embody the very best ideas and research about people, human thought and behaviour, and culture—helping us understand and improve the world around us, today and into the future.

Today, SSHRC is pleased to announce the five winners of the 2019 SSHRC Impact Awards. The awards recognize exceptional Canadian researchers and their research achievements, research training, knowledge mobilization, and outreach activities funded partially or entirely by SSHRC.

SSHRC’s highest research honour―the Gold Medal―is awarded to an individual whose sustained leadership, dedication and originality of thought have inspired students and colleagues alike. The 2019 Gold Medal winner is Will Kymlicka, Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy at Queen’s University. His groundbreaking work on the link between democracy and diversity has advanced knowledge on models of citizenship and social justice within multicultural societies.

The Talent Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement by a current SSHRC doctoral or postdoctoral scholarship or fellowship holder, goes to Jake Pyne of the University of Guelph, a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow and champion for the improvement of service accessibility to the transgender community.

The Insight Award is given to an individual or team whose project has significantly contributed to knowledge and understanding about people, societies and the world. This year it is awarded to Leah F. Vosko, an expert on precarious employment, employment standards enforcement, and migrant work and Canada Research Chair in Political Economy of Gender and Work at York University.

The Connection Award recognizes an outstanding SSHRC-funded initiative facilitating the exchange of research knowledge within or beyond the social sciences and humanities community to generate intellectual, cultural, social or economic impacts. This year’s recipient is Robert Jan van Pelt of the University of Waterloo, a cultural historian whose work focuses primarily on the architecture of the Holocaust.

Finally, the Partnership Award recognizes a formal partnership, through mutual co-operation and shared intellectual leadership and resources, which has demonstrated impact and influence within and/or beyond the social sciences and humanities research community. The 2019 recipient is Marianne Ignace, of Simon Fraser University, an expert in the linguistic and anthropological analysis of Indigenous language discourse. The awards will be presented during a ceremony at the National Arts Centre, in Ottawa, on December 4, 2019. 


Talent: Eric Guiry, Trent University; Nadia C.S. Lambek, University of Toronto

Insight: Alain-G. Gagnon, Université du Québec à Montréal; Myriam S. Denov, McGill University

Connection: André Gaudreault, Université de Montréal; Wendy L. Cukier, Ryerson University

Partnership: Alison D. Blay-Palmer, Wilfrid Laurier University; Barbara Neis, Memorial University of Newfoundland 


“The brilliant work of our scientists, scholars and researchers keeps Canada strong in today’s ever-more-competitive world. Today’s recipients have greatly enriched our society with their meaningful and profound insights about people, behaviour and human thought. On behalf of the Government of Canada, please accept my congratulations on this tremendous achievement.”

—The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport

Will Kymlicka is a world-leading scholar whose dedication and impact on both the academic and non-academic communities is evident in his many awards, as well as the translation of his numerous publications into 34 languages. The five Impact Award winners, as well as the finalists, have demonstrated outstanding research contributions. Their work is a testament to the talent that makes Canada a leader in the social sciences and humanities.” 

—Ted Hewitt, President, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Quick facts

  • The winners of the Impact Awards receive a medal in recognition of the award. The Gold Medal recipient will receive $100,000 for future research, while the winners of the remaining categories receive $50,000 each in research funding.

  • For each award, candidates are nominated by eligible institutions and are evaluated by a multidisciplinary jury made up of distinguished individuals from academia, as well as the private, not-for-profit and public sectors, from Canada and abroad. The jury selects award recipients according to the selection criteria associated with each of the five awards.

Associated links


Follow SSHRC on Twitter: @SSHRC_CRSH | #SSHRCImpact

Daniele Medlej
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science and Sport
Tel.: 343-291-4204

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Tel.: 343-291-1777

Michelle Paradis
Media Relations
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
Tel.: 613-947-9142

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